Having a strong core is one of the most important components when it comes to fitness, yet so many people neglect to work on it. I know it may not be the most popular exercise in the world, but having a strong core has so many benefits to it. A Strong core leads to better balance, stability, explosiveness and support.
Although you may not be able to see the difference right away, I promise you will feel it. Those that suffer from low back pain, having a weak core could be a main reason for that.
So if you’re looking to improve your workouts greatly, then strengthening your core is a must. Below are 5 simple exercises that will not only give you better looking abs, but also give you better workouts overall.
Maybe the king of all workouts. Planks are a great way to really strengthen your core. Now there are two versions of planks. You can do either a high plank or an elbow plank.
- You first want to start off on all fours. With either your hands to get in position for the high plank, or on your elbows for the elbow plank.
- Make sure you shoulders are directly above your wrists or elbow and that they are shoulder width apart.
- You want to extend your legs all the way where your toes are slightly bent.
- Make sure your back is flat and aligned from head to toe.
- See if you can hold it for about a minute or as long as you can. Try to do this 3 times.
- For added resistance, try adding some weight with either a weighted vest, or weights at your local gym.
2. Donkey Kicks
Great exercise for not only working out the core, but also your glutes.
- You want to start off on your hands and knees. While keeping your back nice and straight.
- Starting with the right leg, bring the right knee up towards your chest, then extend it all the way back.
- As you extend your leg, make sure to squeeze your glutes together to really feel the burn.
- Try doing about 15 reps without having your knee touch the ground. Then switch to the other leg.
- If you need more resistance, try using ankle weights to really amp up the intensity.
3. Russian Twists
This exercise requires a bit of balance so make sure to take your time.
- Start off in the sit up position.
- Lift your feet up and cross them together as you maintain balance.
- While your feet is in the air, have your hands go side to side as you try to touch the floor.
- For added resistance, try using a medicine ball as you try to touch the floor with it.
If you find it too difficult to keep your feet off the ground, try the exercise with feet on the ground until you can.
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4. Body Weight Squats
You may not think squats require much core work, but you would be surprised how much having a strong core can improve your squats.
- Make sure to start of with your feet at least shoulder width apart.
- As you make your way down to a squat, you want to make sure to keep your back straight and chest facing forward.
- Hips should be parallel to the ground and your knees not too far past your knees.
- Make sure your heels are flat on the ground and not on your toes.
As you are performing the squats, make sure to inhale on the way down, and exhale on the way up. If you find that your chest faces the ground during the squat, it may be due to a weak core and tight hip flexors. So just be aware of your form.
5. Mountain Climbers
Not only are mount climbers great for the core, but also give you a good cardio workout as well.
- You want to start off on your hands and feet. As if you were about to perform a high plank.
- Make sure your back is straight, core is engaged and butt is not in the air.
- Again, shoulders are directly above your wrists and about shoulder width apart.
- Starting off with the right leg, you want to bring the right knee up towards the chest and foot off the ground.
- As you go to bring that right leg back, you then bring the left knee up towards the chest with your foot off the ground.
For some, this exercise could be a struggle due to coordination, but make sure to take your time until you get used to it.